A CROWD of 25,000 people enjoyed the St Patrick’s Day parade in Kilkenny city where pirates fought with the Pope and where current All Ireland winning captain, Eoin Larkin, received a drenching from the float representing rival city club, Dicksboro.
But it was the re-enactment of Beal na Blath, where Michael Collins was killed, by Paddy Leyden’s pub on John Street, Kilkenny which stunned spectators during the hour long parade which was one of the best in the city for many years with the theme of the Gathering at its core.
Dicksboro GAA club won most entertaining float. It had Pope Francis I, a cardinal and two buxom nuns on board and their slogan: “ Other clubs have no hope, cos the Boro has the pope” was well received as was a second one: Francis has his holy crown and gave his blessing to Palmerstown. And as the float went past the reviewing stand outside City Hall, a cardinal acting on the Pope’s instructions, drenched the Village’s Eoin Larkin, who was the parade grand marshall for the day. The army man saw the funny side of things and shielded his son Allen and daughter Hally from the water pistol armed cardinal who has not been identified. He also soaked high ranking gardai and politicians including John McGuinness TD, chairman of the Dail’s Public Accounts Committee.
Kilkenny Musical society’s float, of a pirate ship, promoting their upcoming production of The Pirates of Penzance provoked spontaneous applause from the crowd and the cast fired shots into the large crowd.
And there were three mayors on the reviewing stand, Cllr Sean O’hArgain, Kilkenny city; Kevin Taaffe of Kilkenny, Minnesota, USA and Patrick Septiers, Mayor of Moret Sur Loing, France. MC for the event was George Candler who did a wonderful job, introducing the floats and gardai were out in force under the watchful eye of Insp. Liam Connolly to ensure everything ran smoothly.